We drove from the Bronx to Ronks yesterday.
About a month ago I purchased two tickets to see the Sight and Sound production of Esther, at their Ronks, PA, location. This was a Daddy date for Corinne Ida Schwartz, since I had not had much opportunity to do something special with her last year when she turned 13 during the height of the Covid lockdown. Corinne loves to listen to good singing, she loves to sing, and she loves to see and hear when singing and acting combine into a story line. If she could have her way, her life would be played out in one long, unbroken musical.
So there we were yesterday. She had been anticipating this trip for weeks, I had been smilingly excited about spending time with my fourteen year old daughter, but somewhat ho-hum about the production itself. We started on our way around 10:00 a.m., stopped at Chipotle around noon, and were sitting there enjoying our food. “Hey,” a guy sitting at another table says to us. “For a while there I was sure you were my former camp counselor, here on a date with your wife, but I think maybe you aren’t the guy who was my camp counselor.” I told him he’s probably right, I’m probably not his former camp counselor. This did not stop him, and he proceeded to tell me all about his life from Washington Heights in Manhattan, to The Bronx, to the camp in Westchester County—and here we were, at a Chipotle in PA. I think that is the first time that Corinne and I got tagged as husband and wife. It happens a good bit to Brianna, which is why she makes a concerted effort, especially if the other sibs are around and Sandy is away, to say “Dad” loudly every now and again to keep inquisitive people in line. Corinne didn’t seem to mind this mix-up. I thought it was kind of funny.
So we made it to Sight and Sound. We got a nice seat in the middle of the house floor. I was completely blown away by the set, the acting, and the singing. The entire production was incredibly well done. About 30 minutes into the story I realized I had better keep a lid on my emotions. It happened when Mordecai began reminiscing how it was when he first took in Esther as a little girl, and now she’s all grown up, and what is going to happen to her? All of a sudden I’m thinking of my daughters and how they are all grown up. I tell myself, “Don’t cry Rich. It’s just a show, you know.” If Mordecai had walked down the aisle past me right about then, I’d probably thrown my arms around him and sobbed. It moved me, you could say. My babies is all growin’ up, y’all. She's been given life and brought into the world, for such a time as this.
After the intermission, the emotion came back and more intense. There was the laughter surrounding the irony of Haman’s flipped position, the amazing bravery of Esther, the praying of the Jewish people, and on it went. It all touched me deep inside. Then the final song included lyrics like “We are not alone,” and celebrated with references to Yahweh. I’m telling you, this was a really good production. I recommend it to anyone who is able to go. Oh, and another perk we had that is not going to happen just every time. We happened to be seated just behind and to the right of two rows of Pentecostal ladies who really got into it. When Mordecai said boldly that he would only bow to His Lord and not to Haman, the one lady yelled out “Amen!” and they was on, baby. Waving their hands in the air when Esther said that her God would protect her, clapping and saying Amen when Esther said we are not alone, these ladies really got excited. It was like we were in heaven’s cheerleading section.
On the way back, Corinne and I finished our Chipotle and stopped at Wendy’s for a Frostie for her. I was getting tired so I figured a Wendy’s coffee would help. It was the closest thing to black truck-stop coffee I’ve had in a long time, but I survived. It was a good trip back, listening to Fiddler on the Roof songs in the car, sharing song preferences from Spotify, and talking about life. This young woman Corinne is a good gift to our family. I’m glad we could spend some real time together.
Son of the Father, husband to Sandy, father of six amazing gifts, Bronx brother, active participant in Believers in Jesus Church, insurance adjuster, occasional runner